Installing a solar pool heater may drastically lower the cost of heating a swimming pool. They are competitively priced with both gas and heat pump pool heaters and have extremely low yearly running expenses. In some areas, solar pool heating is one of the most cost-effective uses of solar energy.

How They Operate
The majority of solar pool heating systems include:

A solar collector is the device that circulates pool water via which it is heated by the sun.

A visual representation of a solar panel. Each end of the panel has a tube, and arrows indicate the flow through one tube, across the panel, and out the other tube, which is designated the header/manifold.
A filter — eliminates particles from water before it is pushed through the collector.
A pump — returns water to the pool after passing it through the filter and collection.
A flow control valve is an automated or manual device used to direct pool water through the solar collector.
The pool water is run through the filter and then into the solar collector(s), where it is heated, before being recirculated. In warmer areas, the collector(s) can be utilised to chill the pool at the height of summer by flowing water through them at night.

Some systems feature sensors and an automated or manual valve to send water via the collector(s) when the collection temperature exceeds the pool temperature. When the collector temperature is comparable to the pool temperature, filtered water is simply returned to the pool without passing through the collector(s).

Solar pool collectors are constructed from various materials. The sort of collector you’ll need depends on your environment and intended application. If you will only use your pool while the weather is above freezing, you will likely simply require an unglazed collector system. Unglazed collectibles lack a glass coating (glazing). They are often composed of durable rubber or plastic that has been treated with an ultraviolet (UV) light inhibitor to increase their longevity. Due to their low components and straightforward construction, unglazed collectors are often less costly than their glazed counterparts. If engineered to drain back into the pool while not in use, these unglazed systems can even be used for indoor pools in cold areas. Even if you must shut down the system during cold weather, installing unglazed collectors may be less expensive than building a glazed collection system.


Glazed collector systems are often constructed from copper tubing on an aluminium plate with a coating of iron-tempered glass, which raises their price. Glazed collector systems with heat exchangers and transfer fluids catch solar heat more efficiently than unglazed collector systems in cooler climates.

Consequently, they can be used year-round in several regions. Glazed collectors can also be used year-round to heat household hot water.

In colder environments, all glazed and unglazed collector systems must feature freeze protection.If your development site mainly faces north and has unshaded regions, it is an excellent choice for a solar pool heating system. If most of your building site faces north and has open areas, it would be a good place for a solar pool heating system.

A solar site study can be conducted by your local solar system provider or contractor.

Solar Swimming Pool Heater Sizing
Numerous variables are involved in the sizing of a solar pool heating system:

  • Pool size
  • Swimming season length
  • Average regional temperatures
  • Desired swimming pool temperature
  • Site’s solar resource
  • Collector performance based on collector orientation and tilt
  • Are you employing a pool cover?


Your solar collector’s surface area should be about 50–100% of the size of the pool’s surface area. In places where it is colder and cloudier, the collector area to pool surface area ratio may need to be raised. The increasing collector area also extends the swimming season.

A 15-by-30-foot outdoor swimming pool in Florida usually needs a collector that is the same size as the pool’s surface area so that it can be used all year. This equates to around 450 square feet of collectors. Most residents in northern California use their outdoor pools for six to eight months each year; thus, their systems are normally sized at sixty to seventy percent of the pool’s surface area.

Using a pool cover may reduce the necessary collector area in any environment.

A solar system will also require a pool pump of the correct size. When replacing a traditional pool heating system with a solar system, you may require a larger pump or a second, smaller pump to transfer the pool’s water to and through the collectors.

Installing a Solar Pool Heater’s Collector
Collectors can be put on rooftops or anyplace near a swimming pool that has the right direction, exposure, and tilt towards the sun. The way your solar pool heating system works will depend on both the direction and tilt of the collector. Your contractor should consider these while assessing the solar resources on your property and sizing the system.

Collector Attitude
The optimal orientation of the collector is straight north. However, it can also be positioned within 15 degrees east or west of north.

Solar pool heater collectors should be put in places where they can get the most energy from the sun throughout the day and year. In the northern hemisphere, the best direction for a solar collector is usually true north. Recent studies, however, have shown that your collector can be angled up to 45 degrees east or west of true north without a big drop in performance. This depends on where you live and how you tilt your collector. You should also think about the orientation of your roof (if you plan to mount the collector on your roof), local landscape features that shade the collector daily or seasonally, and local weather conditions (such as foggy mornings or cloudy afternoons), as these things may affect the best way to position your collector.

Collecting Angle

The right angle for a collector depends on where you live and how long your swimming season is (summer or all year). The ideal collector tilt for summer-only heating is equivalent to your latitude minus 10o–15o. For year-round heating, collectors should be oriented at an angle equivalent to your latitude. But research shows that a collector that is not tilted at the best angle won’t have a big effect on how well the system works. pleasingConsequently, you can typically put collectors on your roof horizontally, which may not be the optimal angle but is more aesthetically pleasing. However, you will need to take roof pitch into consideration while sizing the system.

Determining Solar Swimming Pool Heating System EfficiencyBtu/Btu (ft2/day).

High-efficiency solar collectors would not only cut down on your annual operating costs, but they might also need less collector space to heat the pool.

Solar Swimming Pool Heating System Cost Comparison
Before buying a solar pool heating system, you can look at the costs of using different types of solar collectors and compare them. This can help you figure out how much money you might save if you buy a more efficient collector, which might mean you need fewer panels to heat the collector area of your pool.

To estimate and compare expenses, the following information is required:

A collector’s thermal performance rating(Btu/day)
The total amount of collector panels or pipework required to heat your pool’s surface area.
total cost to install the system.
Then, you can use this formula to figure out how much energy a collector produces per dollar spent or invested:

(Btu/day multiplied by the number of collector panels/piping modules) total cost of system installation = Btu/$ per dollar spent


(27,900 X 4) Btu ÷ $3,000 = 37.20 Btu/day every dollar spent

If you know how much collectors cost and how much energy they produce (in Btu/day), you can use the following formula to figure out how much energy they produce per dollar spent or invested:

Btu/day ÷ collector price = Btu/day per dollar paid


21,000 Btu ÷ $387 = 54.26 Btu/day every dollar spent

Don’t choose a solar pool heating system or collector based on how much you think it will cost. When picking a solar pool heater, it is also important to look at the size, design, and installation of the system.

Building Codes and Restrictions
Just like with solar water heating systems, local building codes and laws must be taken into account for solar water heating. The Solar Rating and Certification Company (SRCC) uses the OG400 standard to rate solar pool heaters and keeps a list of certified solar pool heaters.

Installing and Maintaining
Numerous elements affect the installation of a solar pool heating system. These elements include solar resources, the climate, the needs of the local construction code, and safety concerns. Therefore, it is advisable to have a skilled installer of solar pool heating systems install your system.

If the system is properly maintained, it should work well for ten to twenty years after it has been set up. The collector should not need much maintenance as long as the pool’s chemical balance and filtration system are checked on a regular basis. For maintenance needs, consult your contractor and read the owner’s handbook. Glazed collectors may need to be cleaned in places where it doesn’t rain enough to clean them on their own. The pool is periodically inspected. Glazed collectors may need to be cleaned in places where it doesn’t rain enough to clean them on their own.

Ask the following questions while vetting possible contractors for installation and/or maintenance:

Has your firm installed and maintained solar pool heating systems previously?
Choose a business that has expertise in installing the system you desire and supporting the apps you choose.

How many years of experience does your organisation have in the installation and maintenance of solar heating systems?
More experience is preferable. Request a list of recommendations from previous customers.

Is your business licensed or accredited?
In certain states, a plumber’s and/or solar contractor’s licence is necessary. Contact your municipality and county for further information. Verify your licence with your state’s licensing board for contractors. Additionally, the licensing board can inform you of any complaints lodged against state-licensed contractors.